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Pastor pleads guilty to attempted criminal sexual conduct with 14-year-old

CASSOPOLIS — A former Edwardsburg church pastor will spend 21 days in the Cass County Jail, serve a six-month probation and register as a sex offender after pleading guilty to having sexual contact with a 14-year-old member of his congregation.

John Lohr
Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz said Friday that John Lohr, 41, of Cass County’s Howard Township, was sentenced after admitting to attempted fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in the fall of 2009 with a minor female who reported it to police.

Lohr, who had pastored Edwardsburg’s Church of God, was originally charged with fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, a two-year offense, but was allowed to plead to the lesser charge of attempted CSC.

According to Fitz, Lohr could have been sentenced to up to a year in jail.

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department investigated the case after the 14-year-old girl reported the accusation.

“The defendant violated the trust of a young parishioner. This action was inexcusable and extremely unfair to this vulnerable child,” Fitz said in a statement released Friday. “This conviction assures that the public will be informed and on notice of this tragic offense.”

Fitz said the sheriff’s department conducted an “effective investigation” and he praised the young victim for reporting.

“Because of this young girl’s courage, other similarly situated youths are less likely to become victimized,” Fitz said. “While nothing can change the deplorable acts committed against her, there is some solace in knowing that others will now be protected.”

Fitz’s announcement did not indicate whether officials believed other minors may have been victimized and Fitz was not able to be reached for comment.